An ocean-racing yacht boasting an all-female crew is making her only Canadian stop in Saint John, N.B.
The eight-woman crew is sailing the high seas for adventure and to inspire other women and girls.
The Maiden is currently in the middle of her three-year tour.
The female crew members work hard not only sailing the ship, but in spreading their message as they aim to inspire more women to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
“We’re trying to raise awareness to equal access to education and promote girls into subjects or to stay in them, because when they come to a certain age, they tend to shy away from STEM subjects and it becomes a male-dominated subject,” says Liz Wardley, skipper of the Maiden.
The eight sailors come from all over the world. Junella King, of Antigua, has advanced from apprentice to crew member.
“On board just sailing, being with a lot of experienced sailors, that’s the advantage of this job,” King said.
For fellow crew member Marie Ostrand, it’s her first time sailing with any female colleagues at all.
“Most of the boats I’ve sailed on in the past have been predominantly male-dominated crews, which has been great and there’s nothing wrong with that, but there’s definitely something different about being on an all-female crew,” Ostrand said.
While there are few challenges the crew can’t handle, the motion of the ocean is a different story.
“I do get seasick,” King admits. “That’s the biggest challenge so far.”
For Wardley, the most difficult part is keeping the vessel on schedule.
“We kind of always need to be somewhere. Making that happen, all the logistics around it, the boat, the crew, the tides, the weather, just trying to juggle everything and at the same time, have fun.”
The 58-foot Maiden will remain docked in Saint John for another week before heading to New York.
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